The Corner

Cheney: ‘We’re not going to win this war through more intense airport screenings’

Liz Cheney, the founder of Keep America Safe, tells National Review Online that President Obama’s national-security remarks this afternoon, plus the press conference with John Brennan and Janet Napolitano, were “extremely troubling.”

“Over the course of the last year, President Obama has taken his eye off the ball and allowed America’s counterterrorism systems to erode,” says Cheney. “Brennan and Napolitano both said they were surprised to learn from the review released today that al-Qaeda in Yemen was operational.  Napolitano went on to say she hadn’t realized previously that al-Qaeda might use an individual to attack us.  Yet, in the past year, we’ve had three attacks on America from individuals with Yemeni connections — from the terrorist at the recruiting station in Little Rock to the terrorist at Ford Hood and now the Christmas Day bomber.” Thus, she says, “it is inexplicable that our nation’s top counterterrorism officials would be surprised by a method of attack we’ve repeatedly seen before.”

“At the end of the day, we cannot win this war without daily, unwavering, resolute presidential stewardship,” says Cheney. “By tasking his counterterrorism officials to spend their time focused on trying to close Guantanamo and investigating their predecessors, by treating terrorists as criminals, by treating terrorist attacks on the U.S. as the acts of ‘isolated extremists,’ President Obama has failed to make fighting terror and keeping the nation safe his top priority.”

“The president says he’s using every tool at his disposal but he’s not,” says Cheney. “We can’t prevail against terrorists without intelligence.  When President Obama treats terrorists like criminals, reads them their Miranda rights and allows them to lawyer up, he ensures we won’t get the intelligence we need.”  In addition, Cheney says, “When the president stopped the enhanced-interrogation programs and revealed our tactics to our enemies, he significantly reduced our ability to successfully interrogate any senior al-Qaeda leaders. Intelligence is key. Let’s be clear: We’re not going to win this war through more intense airport screenings.”

Robert Costa was formerly the Washington editor for National Review.

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